Background: Melasma has been shown to have a significant emotional and psychologic effect on affected patients. Although this pigmentary disorder is thought to be more prevalent among Latinos, the effect of melasma on quality of life (QOL) in this population is unknown. Objectives: The goals of this study were to translate and culturally adapt the previously validated Melasma QOL (MELASQOL) scale into Spanish language, to confirm the new scale's reliability and validity, and to administer the scale to characterize melasma's effect on the health-related QOL of Spanish language-speaking Latino patients. Methods: Cross-cultural adaptation of the original questionnaire was performed using previously established guidelines. After pretesting the questionnaire in a group of 30 patients, it was tested in a group of 112 patients recruited from a community outpatient clinic. A Spanish-language health-related QOL assessment battery was also administered for validation purposes. The degree of melasma was determined on clinical examination by the investigator using the Melasma Area and Severity Index. Results: Cross-cultural adaptation of the questionnaire was successful in producing a working and understandable Spanish-language version of the MELASQOL. The Spanish-language MELASQOL scale was internally reliable and demonstrated construct and content validity. The Spanish-language MELASQOL scores of patients with little to no formal education were significantly higher than those with at least a seventh-grade education. Scores were proportional to the length of time a patient had lived with melasma and were higher in patients who had previously sought treatment. Spanish-language MELASQOL score and Melasma Area and Severity Index were shown to be moderately correlated, but no differences were seen according to patient age, marital status, employment, or coexisting medical or psychiatric conditions. Limitations: Limitations are a lack of data regarding socioeconomic status and limitation to Mexican and Central American female patients. Conclusions: We have developed a semantically equivalent translation of MELASQOL in the Spanish language and have begun to characterize the effects of melasma on the QOL in a population that has not been previously studied. Further studies in larger populations of Spanish language-speaking patients from various geographic and socioeconomic groups are warranted.
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